Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Take Back The Holidays

You wanna know how I'm feeling? Screw Christmas. Screw Chanukah, too. Folks, I've come to realize that the holiday-tradition bar has been set way too high for a mere mortal like myself. Really. Game over. Holidays are supposed to be fun, remember?

I hereby resolve to:

1. Quit the church Christmas pageant. Rachel and Brian no longer want to participate. And I never really wanted to be in charge of Angels (Group 1) anyway. Screw it.

2. Forget the house. It will never be any cleaner than it is now. Screw that, too.

3. Buy a Christmas tree at Home Depot. Unless you're tramping out into the snowy woods and cutting down your own wild tree, it ain't traditional. Don't freeze your butts off at a Christmas tree farm - don't you realize that's where the trees at Home Depot come from? And they're cheaper at the store, too. Duh.

4. Summon all the kids into the (messy) living room, plop them down on the couch without regard to size/age order, and snap a picture. No matching clothes, no neatly combed hair, nothing. Reality photo cards, folks - they're all the rage.

5. Our second annual New Year's Party? Still on. Anyone who doesn't appreciate pre-made guacamole from Trader Joe's and Hebrew National frozen hotdogs in biscuit dough can just stay home. I'll heat up the hotdogs, though. Maybe.

6. Fancy Christmas dinner? Why? We just had turkey and stuffing on Thanksgiving, right? Have it more than once a year and no one will appreciate it. I think we'll just have cookies and candy canes that day, thanks. That's all the kids really want, anyway.

7. My holiday table will most emphatically not look like the picture above. I have nothing against beautiful, holiday-themed quilted table runners with matching Christmas china and (gasp!) napkins all the same color. In fact, I admire people who set their tables this way. But I have come to accept that such a layout is not within my capability to pull off. Ever.

8. Meaningful, appropriate gift-giving is now banned. I'm giving people whatever is convenient. A beer-bottle opener for the 6-year-old? Why not? Apparently, she likes beer. 5 homemade scarves to be divided among 10 people? Hey - half of the recipients probably don't even want a dorky-looking handknit muffler, anyway. I'm thinking this could be a lot of fun. Stay tuned for gift-giving ideas for and from the teen set.

9. Latkes for Chanukah? I'm using the mix, straight from the box. I'd use frozen, but those taste really bad. Chanukah gifts? Cold, hard cash - er, I mean, gelt. Chanukah gelt. And dreidels? They're around here somewhere - Lord knows, I'm always running across one in the silverware drawer or on a bookshelf until the day before Chanukah, when they all magically disappear until January.

10. Hah! Screw it. I can't think of #10, and Theo wants the computer to fill out college applications or some such nonsense. Can't he see I'm blogging?

Fellow holiday slackers, feel free to share your own resolutions in the comments. No Martha Stewart wanna-be's allowed. This site is for Christmas/Chanukah slackers only. Got it? Good.


  1. My husband is Jewish, so he has no Christmas nostalgia, and apparently his Hanukkahs (I love that you can spell it however you feel like!!) were pretty lame too. The kids get something from Santa and we typically buy a family gift (this year we got a Wii that we started playing last week). The only big thing we do is drive 12 hours and stay with my parents for 2-3 weeks. THEY have the tree, decorations, dinner, etc. My siblings and I have stopped exchanging gifts, and we are really enjoying that!! Last year's Hannukah was nice because it was early in December, so I made a bigger deal about it. This year, I have to pack up all the Chanukkah stuff and haul it to my parents... Next year when the baby is out of DESTRUCTO-mode (hopefully), we might put up the fake tree.

  2. For serious - I'm with you on all of it. I love Christmas and everything that goes along with it, but I don't have the energy. I think all I'll do to clean the house is shampoo the carpet. And by "I", I mean my husband.

  3. I don't know that I can be considered a full fledged member of the Christmas Slacker club, but I have relaxed my stance on the holidays, especially this year.

    The tree? The two oldest put it together by themselves. The lights? For the first time, I let our oldest put the lights on the tree. And I only fixed 1/4 of them. Ornaments? We only got out about 2/3 of the normal amount. Mainly because I've come to detest opening up hordes of individual boxes of Hallmark ornaments.

    The handmade gifts? My list is much, much more reasonable this year (3 stockings plus 2 pair of gloves). I pledged earlier this year to not be up all hours on the days preceeding Christmas trying to finish them.

    I got the "martha stewart" out of my system early this year with my Cookie Exchange. Now, I'm free to enjoy the holidays without trying to achieve some unrealistic made-for-tv-movie fantasy.

    Did I pass the membership test? If not, there's always next year.

  4. I've even done a lot of those things including the card with everyone mismatched and dirty. I wouldn't have done the card but the husband insisted and just grabbed us all like we were at the moment, plunked us down, took a few shots and went to Sam's Club to order cards. I only do what I can and just let the rest slide. We've gone without a tree before, and so far this year it looks like tree pieces are going to just clutter our living room but never get stuck together. Suggestions? How about IOU's for gifts. They can just ask for a favor next time they need a gift.

  5. Ahh, this is where one sees fun in being a religious fundamentalist (or so we are described), lol. We, fundies, know what's required and what's optional, and I strictly stick to the requried stuff only. So for Chanukah we only light candles and add special prayers. That's it. No mandatory/timely gifts, no gelt. If I get to making donuts (I got a super easy recipe last year) - good for us. Not? There's always bakery.

    I might not be able to keep this up for much longer though, with kids growing up and starting to have some expectations...

  6. Shellie, a dismembered Christmas tree? Nice festive touch...

  7. I was already slacking because we have a new baby. Now we have a new baby with three more (so far) medical appointments before Christmas (which is only 15 days away according to our paper chain), so it's time to slack some more. If I run out of ideas on how to slack, I'll come here.

  8. I was walking past the meds nurse today in the hall and he flashed a home made sign at said simply "Santa Sucks"

    I think there are a lot of people that will join your club. I had a come to Jesus meeting with the kids last night, and told them to all think about which Christmas traditions they really love and mean Christmas to them....we'll keep those and then I can stop stressing myself out doing things I've always done, but that don't really matter to them.....I just have to know which is which.

  9. Martha Stewart couldn't hack it if she had six kids. Come-on she'd be asking for a straigh jacket or for knitting needles so she could make poncho's for her family. But that would be the extent of her creativity.

    I blame retail advertizing for the stress of the holidays. So the T.V. stays off and we don't let the kids see the sale ads.

    Here's to your bah-humbug. We all need to get back to the simple reverance of the True meaning of Christmas, anyway.

    So a cup of hot choclate, a couple of holiday movies or good reads and that should be good.

  10. I so *heart* you!
    1. Last year, I tried to make a nice Christmas dinner, but it was more fun to play croquet on an unseasonably warm day. I think we will have a big pot of soup and some homemade (bread machine) wheat bread and salad. And dessert, of course!
    2. Christmas pic: Last year, I took it in front of the tree, but the kids considered it torture and they are so big now that they made the tree look ridiculously little -- and that was when they were sitting down! This year's pic is very different. I'll be posting it closer to the 25th.
    3. Christmas tree is still in its box in the basement storage closet. No one (including me) has had the time, energy, or inspiration to set it up. Someone will soon. I hope.
    4. The tentative apples-to-apples party for Friday night? Not likely to happen. I'd have to clean the house first, and then dh would want the tree up for guests.

  11. We did the Wal-Mart photo Christmas cards this year - but only because we just adopted our three foster children, and wanted a family picture to celebrate that. While placing my order, I realised that I could get the cards made and it seemed convenient since we'd already suffered through having four kids 6 and under sit still for the picture. We put up our fake tree, which is prelit. It is in the sunroom, which is cold and locked so the 1 and 2 year-olds can't get at it, but admire it through the window. If the girls (4 and 6) want to brave the cold, they can put some ornaments on it. We are skipping the Christmas parties for the nursery school and adoption group, and are only attending two events: a music recital for the girls, and a church servie. And you know, even with our low key approach, the kids are entranced by Christmas! (Hopefully) we are more "fun" and less "mental"?

  12. i believe that you and i were separated at birth.

    i consider myself lucky if i get the menorah out. if i actually remember to light the candles ALL EIGHT NIGHTS, we celebrate a miracle!

  13. I could write this list, except it would be about my LIFE.

    1) Manuscript? screw it, who cares
    2) Job? screw it, who cares
    3) blog? delete it, I'm over it


  14. yikes, someone is Miss Grumpy Pants around here...if I lived nearby I'd bring you a store-bought plate of cookies(you DID say no Martha Steward stuff).

    I think that since you are now working Larry should hire a housekeeper.

  15. I like the way your keeping the holidays real. :)

  16. I'm sorry I can't be a member. Not that I am Martha Stewart, by any stretch of the imagination. It's just that I spend the rest of the year being a slacker so at Christmas I try to pull it together, cuz that's when it's FUN. I am not always successful, (working on a homemade construction project into the night on Christmas Eve only to discover I had purchased the wrong length screws and subsequently abandoning Santa's workshop and setting out a gift the kids had received and forgotten about 2 Christmases earlier and putting a "From Santa" tag on it comes to mind.) Maybe I'm a member after all. Like maybe the founder.

  17. One year we had build it yourself ice cream sundaes. Three kinds of ice cream, sauces, fruits, nuts, chocolate chips. Lets face it, most of it came out of the pantry and it wasn't such a big deal for my mom to buy the rest. I don't think we bothered with a tree and my parents said they'd buy us something during the year when we wanted it as a present. There were no parties and we didn't do the Grandparents until New Years that year. Its still my most memorable Christmas-in a good way!

    Maybe ice cream sundaes aren't practical in a lactose free house, but I'm sure you can come up with something (nachos? Then you could buy more salsa!)

  18. Since I can't find the box that has the stockings in it, I'm thinking tube socks are the way to go.

    As for Christmas dinner, I could make a meal out of nothing more than stuffing and gravy. On paper plates, of course.

  19. I consider myself the anti-Martha.

    I too admire the well set table where everything matches and looks perfect (Christmas tree china? Seriously? You can only use it once a year. Not practical) but alas, after years of attempting the perfect table, I've decided that holiday themed paper plates and cups work just as well.

    You should get a fake tree.

    You've given me a great idea for our Christmas card photo! Tomorrow I will get the kids out of bed at 4:00 a.m. sit them in front of the tree and snap a picture. This way they can look the way I feel on Christmas morning.

  20. Haven't cooked a fancy Christmas meal for years. I got tired of slaving away in the kitchen and missing out on PLAYING with the kids - helping the undo toys and find the right batteries.

    Our munchkins like our tree so MUCH with just the lights on that they all voted to NOT put our ornaments on. I still haven't made a final decision about that, but am leaning heavily in their preferred direction!

  21. I love your slackish ass. Also, I prefer those reality photos.

  22. My brother and his wife did the brilliant move last year of deciding to not wrap presents. They hid stuff all over the house, then sent the kids on a hunt each hour--their Christmas day actually lasted all day, the kids spent at least one hour on each gift before going on the next hunt and when I talked with bro and his wife late that afternoon, they sounded like they had just come off the most relaxing island vacation ever....

    Something to think about...


  23. This made me feel so much better. I am not alone in my slackerdom! We don't have the tree up yet because we are in the middle of replacing the floors, and I just said "screw it" to the Christmas card photo. My kids are 6 and 2; they would never sit nicely next to each other and look at the camera at the same time.

  24. We didn't bring our Christmas decorations with us to India, so when we realized we were going to be here this year, I went out in search of a tree (fake, of course). I found one that looked nice and big at the store so I bought it. When we got it home and set it up, not only did it look puny, but after looking at it for awhile we realized that the middle section must be for a smaller tree because the branches were all shorter than the rest. You know what? I didn't return it. To heck with the perfect tree. For the next few Christmases we are going Charlie Brown style baby!

    Two years ago, half of my family was sick over Christmas. My MIL and I decided that we weren't going to cook all day for people who were too sick to enjoy it, so we went to Jack-In-The-Box for Christmas dinner!

  25. I think there are a lot more people who feel this way and don't own up to it!

  26. True confession: I love the Christmas stuff. And I get my big kids home again. Sorry, no scrooging here. However, if I had to do Christmas and Chanakuh I might just start complaining.

  27. Oh dear, I blame myself for your mood. I told our daughter's science teacher that we had a little conversation about college apps and now you're One Of Us - wild-eyed, frantic, crazy people. I'm so sorry.

    Does this mean you're not coming to my Christmas party?

  28. Cleaning....thats for wimps! Dust and germs are so much more character building!

  29. Yes, I still read your blog regularly! It's Great!
    Of course I rarely comment but,
    I thought I'd let you know that The OCD Chick has returned at last. Good news. I have ascended to #four on her potential Husband list.

  30. You crack me up! Hilarious.

    But a very good reminder: Sometimes it's better just to say, "No way!"


  31. This is why I love that my family is Muslim and Mr. Hot's is 350 miles away.

    We get to celebrate, just the three of us, (plus the three pets, of course) however we want. ;-)

  32. This year I was all set to go "all-out" for Christmas. I don't know where it went, but it's gone.

    I let the kids set up the whole tree last night. I didn't do a thing...AT ALL.

    There will be NO holiday cards sent out. There will be NO outside lights this year. I'm not hand-making a darn thing. I'm seriously thinking of giving everyone gift cards, and the babies-diapers.

    Oh and Christmas dinner might just be something totally off the Curry.

    We will be making cookies, though. I need something to bribe the kids to be good!

  33. I'm not even doing a family holiday photo this year or a stinkin' Christmas tree. I'm 9 months pregnant and I have a 2 year old. Maybe that crap will come next year...

  34. Hubby calls me Mrs Scrooge. I detest all holiday decorations and can't wait until we can put them away again. There is something about cleaning up broken ornaments on a daily basis that annoys me. Not to mention my 2 yr old's obsession with taking light bulbs out of the candle shaped lights and putting them back in or dropping them to break on the floor. Then stepping on the broken glass and needing to go to the dr as the injury got infected. How long do I have to leave the stuff up? Until Epiphany?

    We should follow the tradions my Grandparents had. Santa brought and decorated the tree.

  35. CHristmas Cards? BAH Maybe CHristmas EMAILS - or hey just a link to my blog. Get real people. I'm trying to get ready for a January 6th trial (clearly the Judge is a Grinch....) but first we have Daughter's surgery on Dec 29. So Christmas? (And I admit I normally LOVE Christmas and the whole ho ho ho thing and mistletoe and fa la la) this year, I'm in the Bah Humbug Club! Please! Pick ME!

  36. As I see it, you have two routes to sanity:

    1. Organize incredibly early. This includes making up the mailing list/labels October 15, getting out the menorah December 1 -- that sort of thing. Put 'em on the calendar and do 'em. This is surgical, antiseptic, and deadly effective.

    2. Put as much off until after Christmas as possible. We go the beach on Christmas Eve and use the pictures for our "New Year's Cards". We have a sort of brunch on Christmas day -- fruit salad, ham, biscuits, pie, whatever's still in the house. Dammit, Christmas STARTS on the 25th and goes for TWELVE days!

    That's my two cents.

  37. Since we're FINALLY not going to visit the in-laws, I will actually be able to sleep in my OWN BED this Christmas. I'm baking cookies and adding a couple little things for my friends' gifts. My house is a total wreck. There are literally paths through it right now. It's taking longer than it should to recuperate from last month's lack of good health. I don't even have a Christmas menu planned, we may end up mooching at someone else's house. As of this moment, we haven't gotten the first decoration out yet. At this rate, it will be Easter before the tree goes up yet.

  38. The sheep said it first: baaaaah hum (carols) bug.

  39. I have always tried to do the Martha Stewart Christmas - from extensive home decor, 12' live Christmas tree, to a formal sit down Christmas Eve dinner for as many as 20 people.

    We recently moved from a large home into an apartment. It's just my husband and me. All of our Christmas stuff is in a storage unit. We haven't made the effort to go dig it all out and bring home to decorate. The closer it gets to Christmas, the less I'm inclined to do it. We may not even get with a tree because means I'd have to go to the storage unit for lights and ornaments. I asked my married children to take over the Christmas Eve and Christmas festivities...which they have done.

    I'm really liking Christmas this year. I may never go back to my old ways!!

  40. That's funny, and here I was just thinking that maybe I need to wait until I am a grandmother to pull any of this off. Oh, well...

  41. oh so funny, because oh so is our recent column on the joys (snort) of getting a decent, ok not horrible Christmas picture..

  42. I was just telling Ian the other day we should have a Japanese Christmas. Here they pre order (yep, days in advance) Chicken from KFC, and strawberry shortcake, and it is a day for couples. No big gifts, no huge trees. Just simple carbs and more carbs. Before we moved from Sasebo (we will be transferring there in June) I am determined to have a Japanese style Christmas..

  43. One word re: photos: PHOTOSHOP. Seriously.

    also, Trader Joe's frozen latkes are actually quite good. I put so much sour cream on 'em anyway, though...

    I am soooooo with you on this. Bah humbug.